“The Mysterious Nazca Lines”
The Nazca province is one of the five districs that comprise the region of Ica. Situated between the town of Nazca and Palpa on the south coast, and above the valley of the “Rio Nazca”, Nazca sits at 520 meters (1,700 feet) and has a dry and sunny climate.
In these arid lands, the Nazca culture evolved (100 to 800 AD), directly derived from the Paracas civilisation (900 BC to AD 400). During this period the Nazca developed a powerful religious system which produced, along with Moche on the northern coast of Peru, an outstanding culture distinguished by their handicrafts –notably, pottery and textiles. Most of the geoglyphs of this period are located close to villages, such as La Quebrada del Frayle, Cahuachi, Palpa and Ingenio, concentrated in the Pampa de Jumana.
The Nazca Lines are the most outstanding group of more than 800 geoglyphs in this area or elsewhere in the world, covering 450 sq. km. – embracing both the desert and the low Andean foothills. They are covered with sand and gravel, which has acquired a dark patina from weathering. Removal of the gravel reveals the underlying lighter coloured strata, which strongly contrasts with the darker gravels. The figures have been drawn using a single continuous line – the largest being 285 meters long (935 feet). The Lines were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
The geoglyphs are divided into two categories. The first group (of which about 70 have been identified) represent a variety of natural forms, such as the spider, the monkey, the guanay or guano bird, the lizard, the hummingbird, a killer whale, flowers, plants, trees and –largest of all– the pelican (285 meters or 935 feet). The second group (more than 300) includes geometrical shapes: triangles, spirals, rectangles, and wavy lines. These generally straight lines crisscross parts of the Nazca plateau and are several kilometres in length.
The Nazca Lines were revealed to the world by the scientist Paul Kosok in 1939 during an ancient irrigation research flight, but no one knows their exact function. The most credible theories are that they were used for religious rituals or had astronomical functions. The astronomical version is supported by the work of Maria Reiche.
Maria Reiche arrived in Peru in 1932, to work as a private teacher of the sons of the German Consul in Cusco, and later became a teacher in Lima. Overtime, Reiche became more and more dedicated to the lines and eventually moved to Nazca. For over 50 years, Maria Reiche conducted studies in the Pampas of Nazca, measuring and interpreting. She became so passionate about her job that she began to physically protect the lines from foot traffic and vehicles.
Maria Reiche theorised that the lines were created by both the Paracas and Nazca civilisations from 900 BC to 600 AD with a minor contribution by the Wari in the 7th century. She believed the lines were part of an astronomical calendar, mapped out by incorporating sophisticated mathematics.
In April 1993, the president of Peru bestowed upon Ms. Reiche the “Order of the Sun in the degree of Grand Cross” in recognition of the work she had performed.
Because of their huge size, the only way to fully appreciate the Nazca Lines and images is from the air.
The Condor is one of the most wonderful and fascinating Nazca Lines and we are proud to use it as the symbol of our company.